Since Disney recreated the amazing animation about the 16-year-old mermaid Ariel, many teenage girls are dreaming to live at least one day as a mermaid.

Well, in the city of Zeist in central Netherlands there is one cute real-life mermaid called Crystal and she is running the Meermin School. She is making this dream a reality in her swimming classes.

“It’s amazing. It’s every little girl’s dream,” one of her pupils, 27-year-old Marijke, said to AFP.

Marijke and her mermaid friends Lize and Katja are some of the first students at Crystal’s Meermin School in the Netherlands. After that waves started to arrive from the United States and Canada, this is the “first professional school” for mermaids in the country. The young girls are practicing to be Ariel in costumes with a fishtail which are holding their legs firmly bound.

Crystal explained that the underwater aerobic technique is not easy: “The movement begins from the tummy. Keep your feet together, do not over-bend the knees, and try to do a dolphin kick using your abdominal muscles.”

Because the fish tail costume weighs around 15 kg Crystal usually teaches wearing just her swimsuit. But when she is wearing it the magic happens.

“I can go where I want. I’m graceful in the water. I feel more beautiful in the water. There’s no stress, no pressure and I am away from all the technology. There’s a real tranquility. It’s incredible,” Crystal explained.

The full costume made-to-measure tail, shell-shaped bikini top, star-shaped earrings are in high demand. Therefore girls trying to fulfill their mermaid dreams are sometimes waiting up to 12 months.

As it seems, these real-life mermaids have to practice their patience as well. Besides waiting so long for the costume, becoming a mermaid or merman takes weeks, if not months, of training.

At the beginning, the apprentices are dubbed selkies. These creatures according to the Gaelic folklore live as seals but shed their fur to become human on land.

Becoming the mythological beings with long hair is the final level. After learning free-diving techniques including how to hold their breath underwater, how to blow water rings, and how to protect their ears, the pupils are becoming mermaids.
Crystal’s idol is the Australian ocean activist Hannah Fraser. Hannah has worked as “a professional mermaid” for the past decade. She was filmed swimming with sharks, turtles, and sea lions. She even took part in the Oscar-winning documentary about Japanese dolphin hunting called “The Cove”.